Ibanda: Demarcation of Mukazi Anyara wetland system starts
Ibanda district working together with the ministry of water and environment have started the demarcation of the Mukazi Anyara wetland system in Ibanda South County.
While launching the demarcation exercise on Thursday, Ibanda deputy RDC, Seif Katabazi urged the community to work with the government to restore the degraded swamps in the district, saying they are a vital resource that must be protected and used in a sustainable manner.
He encouraged the residents to always seek guidance from local officials on activities that are allowed in wetlands to avoid clashes with the law enforcers.
Katabazi also cautioned the landowners where the wetland boundary markers were planted against uprooting them, saying anyone who will remove the pillars would be arrested and prosecuted as per the law.
Area residents carry boundary pillars for the demarcation exercise.
During the exercise, wetland boundary markers were planted in Rugazi swamp, which is Mukazi Anyara wetland system, which covers several villages, including Mabonwa, Ketembe, Mpasha, Kyangwahanda, Bwenda, Rugazi and Mwamba.
Erry Kirya, the district natural resources officer, said wetland conservation is essential to guard against impacts of climate change, adding that wetlands supported water and air purification, and rain formation. He attributed the rise in flash floods to wetland destruction because of human activities.
Speaking during the same event, John Mary Babisibire, the Rukiri sub-county LC III chairperson, explained that the encroachers have been engaged many times and encouraged to leave the wetland voluntarily, but they always ignored the advice.
Several of the residents have been using the wetland for farming activities, growing bananas, beans, coffee, eucalyptus plantations as well as for grazing animals, mining sand and making bricks for sale among other activities.
Officials said the owners must remove them and urged the encroachers to look for alternative sources of income or engage in activities that are allowed in wetlands like apiary and fish farming.
Mukazi Anyara wetland supports water supply to Ibanda town and Ibanda South County and connects to the Mpanga wetland system, which serves a mini-hydro power dam at River Mpanga in Kamwenge district besides supporting human and animal lives in several districts.